Lack of N-glycosylation increases amyloidogenic processing of the amyloid precursor protein

Glycobiology. 2022 May 23;32(6):506-517. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwac009.

Abstract

The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a ubiquitously expressed type 1 transmembrane protein mostly known for serving as a precursor to the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), a culprit in Alzheimer disease (AD). However, APP also has important physiological functions by being implicated in, for instance, adhesion, signaling, neuronal development, and synaptic function. Human APP contains 2 N-glycosylation sites, at asparagine (N) 467 (N467) and N496. Here, we studied the role of N-glycosylation on APP trafficking and processing by constructing APP-SNAP plasmid vectors for wildtype APP and N-glycosylation site mutants in which N467 or N496 was replaced by glutamine (Q) and expressed these in HEK293T cells. Lack of either of the 2 N-glycans resulted in a reduction in the size of intracellular APP-SNAP-positive vesicles and a reduction of APP-SNAP in the plasma membrane and lysosomes. Importantly, loss of either of the 2 N-glycans resulted in elevated levels of intracellular as well as secreted Aβ42. These data suggest that N-glycans have a major impact on trafficking and processing of APP and could play an important role in the development of AD.

The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a ubiquitously expressed type 1 transmembrane protein mostly known for serving as a precursor to the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), a culprit in Alzheimer disease (AD). However, APP also has important physiological functions by being implicated in, for instance, adhesion, signaling, neuronal development, and synaptic function. Human APP contains 2 N-glycosylation sites, at asparagine (N) 467 (N467) and N496. Here, we studied the role of N-glycosylation on APP trafficking and processing by constructing APP-SNAP plasmid vectors for wildtype APP and N-glycosylation site mutants in which N467 or N496 was replaced by glutamine (Q) and expressed these in HEK293T cells. Lack of either of the 2 N-glycans resulted in a reduction in the size of intracellular APP-SNAP-positive vesicles and a reduction of APP-SNAP in the plasma membrane and lysosomes. Importantly, loss of either of the 2 N-glycans resulted in elevated levels of intracellular as well as secreted Aβ42. These data suggest that N-glycans have a major impact on trafficking and processing of APP and could play an important role in the development of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Aβ42; N-glycosylation; amyloid precursor protein; processing and trafficking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor* / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor* / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans

Substances

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor